Celebrating diversity and equality, as well as all things gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and more, Pride parades and events do wonderful work by increasing awareness of the world’s ever-growing gay communities. On top of that, they're also some of the world's best parties! Here we take a look at some of the biggest Pride events taking place throughout the world over the course of the next year.
1. Berlin Christopher Street Day 2011, Berlin, Germany
When? May 28th-June 26th.
One of the biggest celebrations of diversity in Europe, Berlin’s Pride Festival is a four-week-long event bringing together people from all different walks of life. Berlin is well-known around the world for its acceptance of the city’s LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community, and this acceptance is especially apparent during the hugely popular Christopher Street Day. Around 600,000 people took to the streets to show their support in 2010, with similar numbers expected this year. Kicking off at 12.30pm on June 25th, the theme of this year’s Christopher Street Day Parade is sport and the motto is ‘Fait play for diversity!’ Head on down to the Brandenburg Gate where you can join in the party and check out the elaborate floats.
2. Sao Paulo Pride, Sao Paulo, Brazil
When? June 23rd-27th.
The Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade is the biggest event of its kind in the whole world and this year around 4 million revellers are expected to join the party. Founded in 1997, the festival is celebrating its 15th birthday in 2011 with the important theme of ‘Love one Another. Enough with Homophobia.’ Of course, the main event is definitely the spectacular March set to take place on June 26th, starting at noon from the Museum de Arte Moderna de Sao Paulo. Lavish and loud, this parade features elaborate floats, amazing costumes, DJs and more. If you’re in Sao Paulo for the parade, don’t forget that there are plenty of other Pride events to check out. These include everything from the 10th LGBT Cultural Fair on June 23rd and ‘Gay Day’ on June 25th.
3. Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival, Dublin, Ireland
When? June 17th-26th.
Starting with the festival launch party and a huge outdoor dance event on Friday, June 17th, Dublin’s LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) Pride Festival is a wonderful celebration of diversity and inclusiveness. Take to the streets of Dublin city centre on Saturday, June 25th and it won’t take long to get caught up in the fantastic atmosphere of the annual Pride Parade. Starting at 2pm, this parade is set to leave from the Garden of Remembrance. Other events catering for all tastes and age-groups take place during the festival, including Irish céilís, sports days, community street festivals, remembrance ceremonies...and then some!
4. Pride London Festival, London, England
When? June 24th-July 3rd.
Over the course of two weeks, the English capital celebrates queer culture with a fantastic array of events promoting diversity and equality. Throughout the course of the festival you can enjoy everything from music and movies, to fashion and comedy, plus plenty more. The highlight of the festival is the vibrant parade, being held this year on Saturday, July 2nd. Starting at the top of Regent Street and making its way towards Trafalgar Square, this parade features an eye-catching selection of rainbow-coloured floats. Trafalgar Square is the place to be after the parade, as you’ll hear a wonderful selection of speakers and performers on the main stage. Also, this year’s festival is hosting the first ever Pride London Cake Design Competition, with the fabulous winning creation set to be unveiled in the main stage on Trafalgar Square. Yum!
5. San Francisco Pride, San Francisco, USA
When? June 25th and 26th.
Seen as a real rite of passage, San Francisco Pride is a truly special event celebrating the history and culture of LGBT communities. Enjoying its 41st anniversary in 2011, the theme of this year’s event is ‘In Pride We Trust’. The party starts at noon at SF’s Civic Centre on Saturday, June 25th. Featuring 200 parade floats, 300 exhibitors and 19 different stages, this is the largest LGBT gathering in the US, with a huge selection of exhibitors and performances for you to check out over the course of the weekend. The location of event is an important one as, here by the City Hall, famous gay activist Harvey Milk spoke to those attending Pride over 30 years ago.
6. PrideFest, New York, USA
When? June 26th.
Taking place this year on Sunday, June 26th, New York City’s PrideFest is an annual LGBT street fair held on Hudson St. between Abingdon Square and West 14th Street. Free and open to everyone, this event brings together wide sections of the community including families, local businesses, community leaders and more. Celebrating its 18th birthday in 2011, PrideFest attracts thousands of revellers who come together as equals from all backgrounds and walks of life. While you’re there, you’ll be able to enjoy a number of different performances as well as checking out what’s on offer from all the different vendors.
7. Amsterdam Gay Pride 2011, Amsterdam, Netherlands
When? July 30th-August 7th.
One of the most exciting and enjoyable events of its kind in the world, the Dutch capital's festival also stays true to the spirit of Pride, celebrating significant tenets like equality and diversity. Street parties take place throughout the festival, while there are also countless themed club nights for you to enjoy. The highlight is unquestionably the parade which, unlike in other cities, takes place on Amsterdam's celebrated canals rather than on the streets. Around 75 different boats filled with gorgeous guys and girls sail down the canals, watched by around half a million people along the way.
8. Bangkok Pride Week
When? November (dates TBC).
The Thai capital's Silom Soi district is the setting for most of the events during Bangkok Pride Week, one of Asia’s largest LGBT festivals. Everything from art to film is showcased, while you can also enjoy many sporting events throughout the week. Other highlights include 'Pride in the Park', which is held in Lumpini Park, and the annual 'Utopia Awards' honouring gay and lesbian pioneers in South East Asia.
9. Cape Town Pride, Cape Town, South Africa
When? February 24th-March 4th, 2012.
Launched annually with a fabulous cocktail party, South Africa's premier LGBT festival was founded in 1994, coinciding with the implementation of the country's pivotal 'freedom of sexual orientation' clause. Attracting thousands of visitors to the city every year, a host of events take place throughout the festival including fashion shows, sports events, film showcases and more.
10. Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Sydney, Australia
When? February-March, 2012 (Dates TBC).
As it is the gay capital of the Southern Hemisphere, it’s no surprise that the largest LGBT festival to take place in this half of the world is in Sydney. Famous the world over, some of the events you should try to check our if you’re in town for the festival are 'Fair Day' held in Victoria Park, 'Mardi Gras Dinner at the Zoo' which is a unique evening of culinary and zoological exploration in Sydney's famed Taronga Zoo, and the extremely famous parade which ends the event with a real bang.
Bringing together people from all walks of life with all kinds of orientations, Pride festivals are incredibly important events infused with a real sense of diversity, equality and acceptance. Don’t forget, if you are thinking of heading to any of the festivals mentioned here, we’ve got a great selection of hostels in all of these cities and beyond.